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Review of Speeder Bike - Star Wars
Sixth Scale action figure vehicle

Sideshow Collectibles
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Introduction

Last week I checked out the new release of the Scout Trooper from Sideshow, and tonight I'm following up with his ride: the Speeder Bike. While these are sold independently, they are pretty much a matched set - you don't want one without the other.

Back in the day, Hasbro did their own 12" line of Star Wars figures, and they produced a Trooper as well as a Luke and Leia on a Speeder Bike. There's really no way to discuss this bike without spending some time explaining the differences, and I've included several photos with both versions. I'll point out before each photo which is which.

The bike will run you around $300, depending on the retailer. I'm looking at the exclusive version, which was only available through Sideshow and includes one additional accessory.

Before we get started, I want to direct you to a very useful instructional video on the Sideshow web site that provides some good info on assembling the bike. Be sure to watch, and pause a lot as you go step by step. Take your time, and you should be able to make it without resorting to super glue.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Packaging - ***
The box is pretty standard stuff, and will be much smaller than you expect. That's because the bike comes in a whole bunch of small pieces, assembly very much required. All the pieces are safe in the trays, and the package is technically collector friendly. I say 'technically' because once you have the bike all put together, you're not going to want to take it apart again to return it to the box for pretty much any reason. Keep that in mind before you start down this path...

The box itself was pretty beat up, with wear on the outer black cover just about everywhere. Not sure why this was a bigger problem this time, unless they went with an outer box that was just too tight - or perhaps not tight enough, allowing the inner box to shift around a lot in transit, causing the rub marks.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Sculpting - ****
The bike is beautiful - no doubt about it. The small details are all included, both on top and bottom.  There is a fair amount of assembly, and some of the smaller pieces are quite thin.  You will want to watch that video and read through the instructions carefully before starting, but I was able to snap mine together in about 15 minutes without any issues.

The bike is large at just over 20" long.  The Hasbro version was a good 3" longer, but that seems much too big to me, based on stills and other collectibles based on the pair. The Hasbro version is also quite toy-like in person, with large pieces, thick edges, and clunky details.  The Sideshow release is much more realistic in scale and design, and is more appropriate in a high end display.

The Scout Trooper fits on the bike nicely, and can crouch quite low in the seat or sit up straight. I suggest working with the trooper's pose off the bike first, getting the torso and legs where you want them, and then doing the final adjustments on the bike itself.

The handle bars and grips are a little misaligned when he's not sitting on the bike. The softer plastic doesn't keep them stock perfect...but that's not such a bad thing. Once you start trying to get him in the perfect pose, you'll appreciate being able to move the bars around a bit without fear of snapping brittle plastic. That doesn't mean you can't break them, especially if you get crazy with the pressure. But they do move around enough to make it possible to fit them in the hands and get a great pose.

Same thing with the foot rests.  They move around a bit, but you do want to take some care. Don't force the boots because the silver plastic edge that goes around the front of the pedal is quite thin, and quite fragile.  I was able to work with it without breaking anything, but it does require care.

There are parts of the bike that are fragile...but that's true with Hot Toys releases as well.  Trying to get the small plastic parts on a vehicle like this done in a way that is both realistic and in scale has fragile written all over it. Assembly does require some patience, but if I can do it, I know you can.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Paint - ***1/2
The detailed, realistic paint work really sets this bike apart from the old Hasbro release. There's more wear and tear, more small detail work, and a better use of finishes to give the overall appearance that screen accurate look.

I still think there could be a few more, particularly around the back of the bike, behind the feet and pedals. The brown sections in back are a lacking in detail, and a little more wear and damage might have broken up the large expanse of the single color.

Still, it's solid work, much like what we saw with Sideshow's Probe Droid. The realism of the rocks and logs on the base goes a long way to selling the overall look as well, and the quality is well above average.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Articulation - ***
There are several points of articulation with the bike to allow for some variation on the shelf.

The forward flaps or vanes can slide in and out, and alter the tilt slightly.  The back vanes or flaps that cover the rear engine exhaust can also flip up and down.  Obviously, both handle bars have several joints, allowing the handles to move forward and back and align with the hands of the trooper in various poses. Likewise, the foot pedals sport some basic articulation so they can be properly aligned with the feet.

Perhaps most important, there is a cap at the top of the support rod that allows the bike to tilt. There is a screw and bolt that can be used to tighten the joint in a tilted pose, so that the trooper doesn't dump the bike right there on the shelf. The base is sturdy enough to manage some pretty serious tilting and still maintain balance.

In the photo below, the Sideshow bike is in front, the older Hasbro bike is in back.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Accessories - ***
There's not a ton of 'accessories' with the bike, but there's a couple worth noting.

First, the regular comes with a large, folded blanket or bed roll that fits on the back, just behind the seat.  It's high quality stuff, and critical to the overall look - the bike had one in the film - but you probably won't ever use it as anything other than ornamentation.

There's also the display stand with the additional diorama pieces.  The stand itself works well, and the S shape metal rod holds the bike at a decent position. There's a plastic connector at the top that allows the bike to tilt side to side, with a screw adjustment. You can also replace this metal rod with an acrylic version, although you'll probably lose the S shape. A straight acrylic rod should be able to manage the weight without wilting (although that's still not a given), but any bend in it would surely result in it failing over time.

Around the basic base you can gather a variety of rock and ground pieces. There's five all together, and you can use them in combination or separately. The sculpts and paints are good, and they add some additional realism to the look of the base.

If you pick up this exclusive, you'll also get a metal card with the specs for the Aratech 74-Z (the technical name for the bike) engraved on it, along with a small plastic base to hold the card upright.  It's a classy addition, and is surprisingly well made.

Note that in the photo below, the Hasbro bike is in front, while the Sideshow bike is in back.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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In the photo below, the Hasbro bike is to the left, the Sideshow bike to the right.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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In the photo below, the Hasbro bike is to the left, the Sideshow bike to the right.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Fun Factor - ***
You probably won't change up the pose a whole lot over time. Maybe he'll be shooting once in awhile, other times merely crouched down racing. This is a figure/bike combo that you'll find you're favorite look, and stick with it most of the time. Some folks will even find the assembly fun - it's not unlike putting together a model, at least one with only a few pieces.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Value - **
Three hundred bucks is not cheap, and here's a category where the Hasbro version clearly wins out.  I'm not sure what they are going for on ebay right now, but I bet it's less than $40 for the bike and an old figure, perhaps even as low as $20.  They weren't too popular back then, and time hasn't been good to the series.

So you could save lots of cash by merely picking up this trooper and popping him on the Hasbro bike, but trust me when I say that in person, it wouldn't look right with the other Sideshow and Hot Toys Star Wars releases. If budget isn't a serious problem, go with the Sideshow.

You can find the regular version for $275 right now at some retailers (see my Where to Buy section), and while I really like the metal plate that comes with the exclusive, it's not worth that extra $25.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Things to Watch Out For -
Lots, at least in terms of assembly. Watch the video, read the instructions, and take your time. A soft touch and patience are your friend here.

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Overall - ***
Think of this has a high 3, almost 3 1/2 stars. It's a sweet ride, and certainly well worth picking up.

Everyone needs to buy the trooper, no doubt about it. Once you have him, you have to make up your mind - Sideshow or Hasbro. The good news is if you're on a budget, the Hasbro one will suffice. It's clearly a toy, but it can pass for a decent bike, and if you have some skills with paint, you can improve the overall look.  If you're not on a budget, grab the Sideshow version. It's the bike he deserves, and I don't expect to see one from Hot Toys any time soon.

Remember to take your time with the assembly, however. It's the one area where frustration can set in, and you know how it goes - frustration leads to breakage, breakage leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Actually, when it comes to sixth scale figures and collectors, breakage jumps right past hate to suffering - lots of suffering.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***

Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow is the place to pick up this exclusive version for $300.

- comes in at $276 for the regular.

- has the regular for $300.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
You should check out my review of the Biker Scout from just last week, a necessary component to this bike and the figure you see posed with it in all the photos. There's also the recent smaller and much cheaper release from Hasbro in their Star Wars Black 6" series. And about 10 years ago, Gentle Giant did a statue of the bike and trooper as well. Long before all that, there was the Hasbro 12" figures, and their release of the Trooper and Bike, as well as the Darth Maul with his own version of a speeder bike.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Star Wars Speeder Bike 1/6th vehicle by Sideshow

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This product was purchased with a discount for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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